Arts Issue 2021

You may think art has no limitations, rules or pressures. After all, isn’t it meant to be about personal expression? However, such an assumption could not be further from the truth. As a society, we tend to overvalue conventions of western art and critics’ opinions, creating one-dimensional expectations for what qualifies as good art: realistic paintings on canvases, heterosexual love stories, pop music you can belt in the car, Hollywood films — the list goes on. While these examples are certainly enjoyable, they are not the only pieces of art worth consuming. In fact, they only represent a small fraction of what artists have to offer. 

This semester’s Arts Issue explores unconventional art — work that is often overlooked or does not conform to the conventions that the discipline typically demands. Each of the featured artists forces us to question what qualifies as art, and more importantly, impactful art. 

Conventionality is often associated with safety, thinking inside the box, accepting boundaries rather than challenging them. There’s a comfort in those lines, a boundary in which an artist can decide the relationship between themselves and the viewer. The best artists and most impactful artwork blur or omit that boundary. We hope that this issue will do exactly that. 

By celebrating overlooked and underappreciated art, this issue provides a platform for both student and professional artists whose works deserve to be seen. Through artist profiles, we offer an opportunity to connect with the compelling works that these individuals pour themselves into for hours on end. Most importantly, we hope that after reading this issue, you come away with a desire to challenge our society’s standards for what makes good art and to search for a variety of artistic mediums you have yet to discover. Visit galleries. Listen to the music echoing down the street. Notice the sketches on the sidewalk. Drop a dollar in a performer’s hat. Support the artists around you who are crafting new and exciting work.

We would like to thank our fellow editors on the Arts Desk — Yas Akdag, Isabella Armus, JP Pak and Nico Pedrero-Setzer — who devote the utmost passion, kindness and compassion that allow our writers and content to flourish. We are proud of the work you do each day and could not be more appreciative to have you as co-editors and friends. 

Due to the hard work of those listed above, Under the Arch and others, we are thrilled to share this issue with you. Thank you for supporting the arts.

Sasha Cohen & Ana Cubas
Arts Editors

Senior dramatic writing major Molly Scharlin divulges about her upcoming multimedia extravaganza “Boohbah: The Rise and Fall of an Empire” and unconventional artistic process.

After a somewhat rocky start on TikTok, this Clive Davis student is making a name for herself through her exquisite and introspective hyperpop.

These four NYC-based tattoo artists illustrate how the human body can serve as an unconventional canvas.

The designer, ceramicist and art curator finds purpose in bringing new ideas into focus.

Singer-songwriter Angela Daudu reflects on her synergistic relationship with music prior to, and in the wake of, the challenging events of these past few years.

Young LGBTQ+ photographers in NYC are using unconventional photography as a means of decolonial resistance and self-exploration.